vegansaurus!

11/11/2009

Fancy-Ass Thanksgiving Plans: Millennium!  »

If you’ve got the money, I’ve got the time KNOW WHAT I’M SAYIN GREAT NEITHER DO I.

If you are so inclined/filthy rich, you could spend Thanksgiving doing it up at Millennium. Oh go for it, you have no family who loves you anyway. I mean in the Bay Area! I’m not that mean! OR AM I, PERSON WITH NO FAMILY WHO LOVES YOU?? IN THE BAY AREA. Dang, paranoid!

OH ALSO SPEAKING OF THAT…if there are any stragglers around for the holidays who can’t afford Millennium, you’re welcome to come with me to my parents’ house. It’s seriously a blast. First, we will eat hella mashed potatoes, then we’ll hear my dad lecture about raquetball and/or aliens, then my four-year-old niece will feel you up, and THEN we’ll watch a movie! Probably something with an end-of-the-world or Strawberry Shortcake theme. It’s actually tons of fun, email me!

If you can’t/refuse to make it to either event, you can always recreate the Eric Tucker Experience with his pumpkin pie recipe (Thanks, VegNews!). I’d share mine but basically it’s exactly his only I came up with it first um yes that’s the ticket.

10/15/2009

09/03/2009

Vegetarian Option Leads to Downfall on This Week’s Top Chef  »

Someone get Jeremy Fox or the entire crew of Millennium up in this piece because this week’s veg options on Top Chef were SAD. Okay, not entirely, but the losing dish happened to be vegan and was created solely for the possibility of herbivores, which is nice, but at least make it interesting. We all know it is possible. We all know veg options can do so much better than (wait for it)…pasta salad.

Yes, pasta salad. Any teenage vegetarian knows the pain of going to a family function, watching everyone around you feast on hamburgers and hot dogs while you are relegated to this sad bowl of wet pasta with some canned artichokes thrown in. And that is when you vow to learn to cook. Or bring veggie burgers next time.

But, I digress. The pasta salad was a disaster. I don’t even want to link you to the recipe because I’m pretty sure everyone here knows how to boil water and open cans of food. Granted, the kitchen this week was military-style and limited, but in an upscale cooking competition where your competitors are coming up with things like bread pudding, three-bean chili, and chowder in that same kitchen, with the same limitations, it’s time to step up your game.

Sadly, the contestant that went home last week was also a San Francisco chef, which was a double-burn! And she worked at GOOGLE. So embarrassing on so many levels.

Other non-meaty dishes cooked this week included Laurine Wickett’s potato burger on portobello mushroom bun with fingerling chips. She made this for the Quickfire and I would eat about a million of all these things. This dish was almost vegan, except for heavy cream and an egg used to make the burgers. Easy to vegan-ize, right?! Jesse Sandlin’s sweet potato soup was another almost-vegan, just replace the heavy cream and go easy on the cayenne pepper (judges said it was too spicy). Finally, eliminated cheftetant Preeti made a vegetarian dish for the Quickfire: Russian banana fingerling potatoes with asparagus and tomatoes. Sub the butter with Earth Balance and you’re good to go!

What did you all think of last night’s episode?

08/14/2009

Marilu Henner, Michael Bauer, Dan Barber, AWESOMENESS, Millennium, Animal Place, Michael Vick, INSANITY, Recipes, Street Food AND MORE: Friday link-o-rama!  »

Let’s look at restaurant reviews in the Chronicle! Michael Bauer writes up Wexler’s, a fancypants barbecue place in the FiDi; was there anything pertinent to the cruelty-free set? “The kitchen doesn’t ignore vegetarians, either, offering a lunchtime smoked carrot plate with collards ($10) and a “farmer’s cookout” ($14) for dinner, with smoked eggplant chili, corn on the cob and Texas toast with smoked garlic butter.” WELL THEN.

You know that activism aphorism, “think globally, act locally”? Apparently this year it extra-applies to tomato production, and chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill is pretty pissed about it. His tips to home gardeners: Don’t fear science; grow more than one variety of tomato at a time; and eradicate your late-blight-afflicted tomatoes as soon as possible. Practice biodiversity, Victory Gardeners!

Millennium’s Heirloom Tomato Dinner may be the last time you taste those fruits of the vine this year, should Dan Barber’s predictions come true. Perhaps attending the feast on Aug. 26th between 5:30 and 9 p.m. for $60, with an extra $12 bloody mary flight, is the wise tomato-lover’s choice.

This Sunday, use Twitter on behalf of the animals. This could be big and awesome. Do it. Speaking of Twitter, here is your oppportunity to FOLLOW A CAPYBARA UGH I CAN’T TAKE THE CUTENESS.

Are you aware of the excellent work The Marine Mammal Center does? That place is amazing. A friend of Vegansaurus is a longtime volunteer there, and it’s been in the national news recently, rescuing California sea lion pups—pups!—that have been washing ashore in “record numbers,” tiny and starved and very ill. If you love dolphins and otters and seals and all their brethren, this is the place you want to support.

On Saturday, Aug. 22nd, you can hit up the School Lunch Sound Off! Come by and bring all the students that you know! They can WIN AN IPOD just by being awesome and creative. Free snacks and drinks, activities and great speakers. OH AND MARILU HENNER. We’ll be there so you should too! After you hit up this event, head over TO (read below, just go with me):

The last two weekends of August the streets will run with food. First, on Saturday Aug. 22nd from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. is the first-ever San Francisco Street Food Festival! Admission is free, and there will be food and cocktails, with no item over $8, all on Folsom Street between 25th and 26th Streets. This is ridiculously close to Vegansaurus H.Q., so you better believe we will be there in our eatin’ dresses (and pants!), as the vendors list appears to have a decent number of veg dishes.

Second, Aug. 28 to 30 at Jack London Square in Oakland is the second annual Eat Real Festival. Admission is free, and they have all kinds of entertainment planned, as well as a full-on farmers’ market and a beer “shed.” The list of vendors looks pretty impressive, too. Don your finest eating-wear and join Vegansaurus—it is rare we miss an opportunity to eat on the cheap—though we will of course be missing the butchery contest on Saturday, Aug. 29, because, puke.

Oh yeah, Michael Vick is gonna be on 60 Minutes on Sunday. If you want watch him fake remorse, that’s the place to do it. Actually, instead of watching that, pick your dog up a Michael Vick Chew Toy and then please to look at all the adorable pit bulls up for adoption at PBRC. Even better, a photo of Hazel. <3 <3 <3

You know how you’re always saying that someday you want to live on a farm and have a million animal friends? Well, here’s your chance! Animal Place is hiring a rescue ranch manager who will live onsite with hundreds of awesome rescue animals. You can cuddle pigs and snuffle bunnies to your hearts content! You’ll also be responsible for scooping literal TONS of shit and have to live in BFE with little human companionship, but fuck people, we’re the worst; chickens rule, humans drool. I KNOW there is a Vegansaurus reader or two who are interested in this. If so, email Marji at Animal Place for more details!

And finally, Susan over at FatFree Vegan Kitchen has posted some bomb-looking recipe for oven-fried green tomatoes. I would like it noted that I only typed “oven-friend” twice before getting it right. Man, I love fried food.

05/26/2009

Gluttony, reviewed: Southern Comfort Dinner at Millennium  »

We sure ate a lot of food last week, you guys. First, a rundown of just what we had.

Vegansaurus’ SoCo menu (with photos by Laura!)
breads and herbed butter
nachos with “cheez whiz,” guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and jalapeños; side of fried green tomatoes
iceberg wedge with strained tofu “egg,” cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, honeydew melon; thousand island dressing
choice of entree (all with sides of coleslaw, black-eyed peas, steamed veggies with margarine)
sausage sandwich with fried mushrooms, mixed greens, red onions, tomatoes, mayo and mustard (x2)
"shake & bake" seitan étouffée over white rice (x2)
choice of dessert
chocolate muffin with cream frosting (x2)
strawberry muffin with gummi bears (x2)
plus cherry ice cream and various toppings, including chocolate syrup, whipped soy cream, chocolate-covered peanuts, strawberry syrup, and sprinkles
drinks
mint julep (x1)
trailer fizz (rum, cola, whipped soy cream) (x3)
strawberry-watermelon vegan Jell-O shots (x4)
Rolling Rock (x1)

How did it all taste? Firstly, the nachos (one dish served two) were Tex-Mex PERFECTION. I come from a long line of cookers and appreciators of fine Tex-Mex cuisine*, and in a blind taste-test not one of my relatives could’ve told the difference between Millennium’s vegan Velveeta and the real thing (not that Velveeta is “real” anything, but you know what I mean). They were so good, in fact, we fell upon them and demolished them before anyone thought to take a picture. Whoops. Trust me, though, they were amazing. Oh, and the fried green tomatoes! Delectable. I couldn’t have imagined them tasting any better than they did.

The wedge salad I thought was pretty good; the melon was a little weird, but method used to give the tofu the texture of “boiled egg white, crumbled,” was astonishingly successful, so despite the inherent grossiossity (some might say “ass-nastiness”) of thousand-island dressing, I quite liked the salad. Joel had to eat my cherry tomatoes, though. They’re like little eyeballs. Ick.

While the official Millennium menu offered four entree choices, the other two (“meaty” tamales and a shepherd’s pie) didn’t intrigue the Vegansaurus table nearly so much as the sausage sandwich and the seitan étouffée**. Thusly did we order two of each, and  thusly did we eat them up. The black-eyed peas were disappointing bland, as were the steamed vegetables, though one assumes the vegetables’ blandness was intentional. The slaw had a nice zip and a very good crunch, which contrasted nicely with the (again, intentional) gumminess of the white rice that came with the seitan. Altogether it was a very good plate, and the leftovers made a satisfying late breakfast the next morning.

I was told that the sausage sandwich was very excellent, but despite having sampled it I cannot testify to this, as I was at this time well into a fugue state of consumption and unable to taste food. At this point I would like to hail Laura and Jonas for their ability to finish their entire plates after coming directly from a vegan dessert sampler. This, friends, is digestional fortitude.

The drinks were, in my opinion, fair. As I do not care for mint juleps (they revolt me), I can only relate Joel’s report of their high quality, unchanged from last year. This year the bar also offered a trailer fizz, which sounded disgustingly good—rum, cola, whipped soy cream—but in fact was not what a person looking to fit as much food as possible into his/her stomach should’ve been drinking, as soda is full of carbonation, and carbonation fills one’s  stomach with air, which makes much less room for food. It was good for a few sips, but best left to people less sensitive to bubbles than me. The vegan Jell-O shot was also new, so in the interest of research we all ordered one. Turns out they were fancy, Millennium-bar-style vegan Jell-O shots, meaning they weren’t artificially strawberry-watermelon flavored, they were made with actual strawberry and watermelon pulp and juice. They tasted great! but the texture was all wrong for a Jell-O shot. Still, an A for effort.

Finally, the dessert bar. Where there were brownies served universally as a chocolate ice cream base last year, this year we were given a choice between chocolate, strawberry, and spelt muffins, sight unseen, to go underneath cherry ice cream. Presagely, Laura and Jonas saw fit to order the chocolate muffin; like idiots, Joel and I chose strawberry, which turned out to have vegan Gummi Bears in it. AWFUL. The ice cream was all right, and the toppings were as good as I  remember them being last year. However, it was and is quite difficult to enjoy a dessert after such a massive meal as the SoCo dinner and its three big courses. Life is hard, you know? Really hard.

I think it would have been a better meal without the introductory bread, and with an optional dessert. I might’ve split a dessert with Joel, say, and eaten just as much as I did of my own. Ultimately, it was a fantastic meal, especially the nachos and the entrees. GOD, the nachos. I am still dreaming of them nearly a week later. Next year, I advise only eating more slowly (at least for myself), and reading the menu carefully to avoid such mistakes as ordering muffins with Gummi Bears in them.

*Seriously, I thought carne guisada was a traditional Mexican dish until I finally had reason to look it up, oh, two weeks ago.
**I believe it was an étouffée. If anyone can offer a correction, edits will be gratefully made.

05/13/2009

Southern Comfort Dinner at Millennium!  »

Once a year fancy-shmancy Millennium turns into a trailer trash hootenany. It’s called the Southern Comfort Dinner and it’s a meal you don’t want to miss if you’re a fan of foods like FRIED EVERYTHING and SUNDAE BARS. If you don’t have an eating disorder (or are looking to start one! ‘Tis the season!), I’ll see you on May 21st! I’ll be the girl who keeps eating through the pain; they just shouldn’t give people like me access to an all-you-can-eat dessert bar. It’s just bad for business.

click here for the menu from last year.

click here to see the appetizers from last year and here for the “catfish” po’ boy! Oh and don’t forget the DRANKS! Love, I know thy name and it is $5 mint julep!

Make reservations because the dinner fills up FAST! Vegans ain’t stupid, we need our fatty fried food fix just like the rest of you assholes!

AND FINALLY I PRESENT TO YOU, the Sundae Bar in action:

PS: As is sort of evident from the above photo, the waitstaff really take the “trailer trash” theme seriously, and they dress the part to EXTREMES. You can too! Wifebeaters are unisex and uni-trashy.

02/04/2009

Millennium!  »

I have a rule for Millennium. You take me here, I will put out. Whether you like it or not. I’ve made a not-interested-in-ladies-in-that-way friend very uncomfortable after he so politely paid the tab. Basically, you pull out your charge card and I’m knocking shit down, crawling across the table and COMIN’ TO GETCHA! Hot, I know.

Speaking of hot, let’s talk Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day, what is that about exactly? I’ll tell you. It’s about love, showing affection through consumerism, and anal sex. Not necessarily in that order but everyone has to get something out of it. What I’m trying to get at here is that Millennium is the perfect Valentine’s day spot for the vegan vagina in your life. I don’t know why I just typed vegan vagina, it’s like I lost control of my fingers and it just came out. I apologize. This post is about to get a lot less vulgar and a lot more SEXY! Because sex sells and Vegansaurus needs some traffic! SEX!

First sexy thing about Millennium, it’s located in a nice hotel. Restaurants in hotels are always sexy unless it’s the Holiday Inn Kids Eat Free, but I already promised I’d stay away from vulgar. First non-sexy thing about Millennium, the hotel is in the Tenderloin, where crackheads go to die. I’m not just saying that, it’s on maps. It’s depressing in a way that can only be described as mass suffering multiplied by urine plus a meth-head jamboree. Can I get a what-what for city living!?

Second sexy thing about Millennium, they have TheMostAmazing drink menu, often including a vegan white russian! Excellent mixed drinks with vodka they infuse themselves and an extensive beer and wine menu…all vegan, all excellent!

Third sexy thing, Millennium’s staff is sexy and adorable. Second non-sexy thing, not all of the clientele is sexy and adorable. Fourth sexy thing, dim lighting makes everything better!

Fifth sexy thing, THE MENU! It’s mostly seasonal but there are a few standout items on the all-organic menu that you’ll see year-round. The Zaatar and Garlic Spiced Hand-Cut Frittes (that’s fries to the rest of us!) are fucking amazing. YOU MUST GET THEM. Even if you aren’t a fry person (GET AWAY FROM ME!), these things will blow your mind! Sesame Cornmeal Crusted Oyster Mushrooms are a classic on the menu and I love them. I normally am way averse to mushrooms but those little suckers fit the ticket! Right now they’re serving Rancho Gordo Cannelini Runner Beans, which is basically a bruschetta of beans and seitan that is A-MAZING. I could easily make a meal (and often do) of appetizers and drinks. I think those are the best things they offer and it’s a lot cheaper than ordering full meals! Don’t get me wrong, the entrees are often delicious (like the currently offered, Seared Emerald Rice Cake with Indonesian red coconut curry, winter root veggies, lemongrass tofu and all sorts of other yummy things!) but they are more costly, usually ranging from $20-$25 while the appetizers and starters are more like $4-$10 and can be equally filling and provide more flavor combos bang for your buck!

The desserts are always yummy, ranging from their chocolate midnight cake (excellent and always on the menu!) to tiramisu to shortcakes to poached fruits to my favorite (and the cheapest!), The Sweet Ending, which is just some truffles and cookies and is always extra delicious. I’ve spent a couple weeknights as follows: walked into Millennium, sat at the bar, had a beer, the fries and a sweet ending and some excellent conversation with the bartenders and gotten out for $15. High class.

Right now, they are offering a Frugal Foodie deal, because sometimes it’s hard to be extra frivolous and gluttonous when everyone around you is losing their jobs and applying for government cheese and being all poor and depressed and shit. So I thought this was a very classy thing for them to do. Sunday through Wednesday they offer a three-course prix fixe option for $38/person with an optional wine pairing for $12. V. nice!

And in conclusion, please see the first “paragraph” of this review: I’m not wearing any underwear. THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT!

01/30/2009

Vegansaurus’s sexy Valentine’s Day vegan dining guide!  »

Giving you the gift of game, part 1.

Millenium
It’s a vegan cliché to go here for a special event, but take it up a notch by booking a table at the Aphrodisiac Dinner (next month’s is February 15), along with a room at the adjoining Hotel California.

Greens
While Greens is guilty of a more old-school, covered-in-butter, ’70s-style of vegetarian cooking, it’s so gorgeous you may just have to put up with it. Greens is offering an $88 prix fixe menu on V-Day (double the price of their normal prix fixe menu) but if you want to drop the cash while admiring the ocean (and the good looks of your date), be sure to call ahead to make sure you can actually eat something.

Saha
Another restaurant that you can also parlay into an overnight hotel rendez-vous (it’s inside the Hotel Carlton ), Saha is a small plates, Middle Eastern restaurant that’s vegan-friendly. They even feature that holy grail: a vegan dessert at a non-vegan restaurant.

Dosa
Yes, you can eat the same genre of food cheaper at Udupi Palace paces away but it’s Valentine’s Day, not Tuesday night takeout. It’s time to have some class with your potato-stuffed pancake and array of chutneys. Expect a long wait. Remove some of the class you just earned by going to the liquor store across the street and drinking on the sidewalk.

Beretta
In the erstwhile Last Supper Club space, Beretta has only recently started catering to vegans in a real way by offering vegan cheese (we think it’s Teese) and vegan sausage on their tasty thin-crust pizzas. They also have an excellent drink menu. This would be a nice V-Day option for a “special friend” or someone you just started dating who you don’t want to freak out. It’s nice, but it’s still casual.

The Front Porch
A Vegansaurus Favorite, the sexy Front Porch rarely disappoints (and if they do, they are very nice about it and will continue to push French fries on you). They have a daily rotating vegan special and wine in a box! No prix fixe, but they say they’ll have some special treats on the menu. As with Dosa, expect to wait for your table.

Restaurants With Explicitly Labeled Vegetarian Options for V-Day That We Haven’t Been To:
Cafe Majestic
: ($70 prix fixe vegetarian menu)
Citizen Cake
Maharani ($42 vegetarian menu)
Mission Beach Cafe ($75 five-course dinner with champagne toast. OpenTable also says there will be vegan options, but no menu on the website yet!)

Know of any other restaurants offering veg options on Valentine’s Day? Any other nice restaurants that you’d recommend? Leave it in the comments!

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